Gear Review: Best Outdoor iPhone Apps

After considering tens of thousands of iPhone apps and testing somewhere between 600 and 700 of them over the last six months, we’ve learned a few things. One, there’s a lot of junk out there. Two, the apps that take full advantage of the iPhone’s capabilities are few and far between. Three, just because an app is popular doesn’t mean it’s good. Four, ratings in the app store must be viewed loosely, as crowdsourcing the reviews often leads to dubious conclusions. Five, in the end, whether an app fits your needs and leaps ahead of all other apps to make itself indispensable is impossible to predict.

Our reviews are by necessity short. Much of the heavy lifting comes from the vetting, where we separate the wheat from the chaff. If you don’t see an app here, it’s because its reviews were so bad it clearly wasn’t worth downloading, it didn’t work well, or it was topped by similar apps that made the final cut. There’s always the chance that a great app slipped under our radar or made it onto the app store after we finished our review; if that’s the case, let us know.

If you want to see all 107 of the best outdoor iPhone apps on one page, click on the photo below.

If you want to jump straight to one of the categories on its own page, well…click on them.

And then, because we think it’s always interesting what actually stays on the phone when the testing’s over, we’ve included the apps that made the cut…see Michael’s and Steve’s picks below.



{ 6 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Kyle

    Yes! Have been looking for something like this for a long time!!! might want to include a “Before You Go” section. Columbia has another great app called Take 10 (check list app) and Mamut has a nice check list app too that you can share with your adventure party. Great job!

  • Chris Cummer

    For the rock climbers there’s a real dearth of quality apps in the App Store at the moment (we’re getting trounced by the birders!) but my climbing partner and I have created on we’re quite proud of: Climb It (http://climbitapp.com). It’s specifically designed to help climbers plan, track and brag about their climbing trips and sends.

    Bouldr is also quite popular though a bit tricky to set up initially. And if you climb in the Red, Wolverine Press has their entire guidebook available (it’s pricey but beautiful).

  • Andrew Wilson

    Would be great to include the “Fishing Flies – A guide to flies from around the world” to your list of best outdoor iphone apps. http://www.fishingfliesencyclopedia.com

    The Collins Fishing Flies App built in association with Trellisys.net is the most complete guide to the huge range of flies now being used by fly-fishers around the world, whether fishing for the traditional quarry of trout and salmon, or for bonefish and permit on tropical flats, or for striped and sea bass from Atlantic beaches, or for toothy predators in Amazonian tributaries, of for pike in northern lakes.

    Enables the fly-fisher and fly-tyer to select new flies for their local waters, or to select flies when heading off, to far-off rivers, lakes and seas. Contains over 1300 photographed flies, together with tying and fishing notes and an extensive bibliography of fishing flies

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